Hockey (or field hockey) is believed to have its roots in Ireland and/or Scotland. Derived from the Irish game of ‘hurling’, or the Scottish version known as shinty; These games gained huge popularity among the masses. Several other iterations of the game are believed to exist as well. Whether it is the Chinese version called Beikou, or the version called Cheikou, which was played by the European invaders of Chile. The game is now one of the most played sports across the globe. Let’s take a look at the top 10 greatest hockey players of all time.
Topping the list is none other than Colonel Dhyanchand. He is widely regarded as the greatest field hockey player of all time and one of the greatest athletes in Olympic history. Nicknamed the magician, he scored over 100 goals throughout his career.
The first man to achieve the 300-goal mark in field hockey, Sohail Abbas was truly a genius of the game. Loved by fans and hailed as one of the greatest ever field hockey players, Sohail was also regarded as one of the greatest flickers of all time. He is the top scorer for Pakistan with 16 goals in three World Cup matches.
Rick Charlesworth comes in at number three on this list of the greatest hockey players of all time. A pioneer of Australian field hockey, he represented his team in five Olympics. His contribution to hockey cannot be underestimated. He led his team to victory in the 1986 Hockey World Cup in London. His outstanding performance and contribution earned him the Australian Citizen of the Year award in 2001. In addition, he was also inducted into the Australian Hall of Fame in 1987.
Coming in at number four, there is no doubt about the stature of Hasan Sardar as the most talented and probably the best player Pakistan Hockey Federation has ever produced. Hasan won the gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and led the Pakistan national hockey team to victory. In addition to his services on the field, Sardar has also assisted in the administration of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, serving as head coach as well as manager of the national team.
Teun de Nooijer
Another Dutch field hockey player is also regarded as one of the best field hockey players of modern times. He plays for several teams apart from his national teams, such as Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the Indian Hockey League and Dutch team HC Bloemendaal. He won gold medals on two occasions: the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 2000 Sydney Olympics. As a captain, he led his team to the finals in the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.
At number six we have former Pakistani player Shahbaz Ahmed. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest forwards the game has ever seen. Due to his impeccable dribbling skills with the stick, he was nicknamed the Maradona of field hockey. As a captain, he led his team to a World Cup victory in 1994. Apart from his national team, Ahmed also played for the German club Harvesthuder. He participated in three Olympics and was successful in securing a bronze medal in the 1992 Olympics. Another important achievement of his is that he is the only player in the history of field hockey to win the Player of the Tournament award twice in a row in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups.
This former Dutch field hockey player is widely regarded as one of the best penalty-takers in the history of the game. He participated as a member of the Dutch field team in many competitions like the World Cup, EuroHockey Championship, Buenos Aires Hockey World Cup, etc., and won medals and positions in all of them. Apart from the national team, he was also a leading member of the club HC Klein Switzerland.
Next, we have Indian field hockey icon, Dhanraj Pillai. He was the only Indian to be included in the World XI squad for the 1994 World Cup in Sydney. He has participated in four Olympics from 1992 to 2004. Dhanraj also served as the captain of the Indian field hockey team. Throughout his career, he scored over 170 goals in 339 international games. Due to his contribution in the field of hockey, he was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Padma Shri in 2000.
We have another fellow Australian at number nine, Jamie Dwyer. A leading member of the Australian field hockey team, he led his team to gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics. With an illustrious career, he has played over 250 matches and scored over 150 goals. He was also instrumental in helping his team win gold medals at the 2006 and 2008 Commonwealth Games. He is regarded as one of the best strategists in the game.
At the start of the list, we have Fergus Kavanagh, the Australian field hockey player. Regarded by many as one of the greatest field hockey players of modern times, Kavanagh is a member of the Australian men’s field hockey team. In the domestic circuit, he plays for the Western States team in the Australian Hockey League. Fergus led his team to victory in the 2010 Delhi Hockey World Cup and the 2014 Hague World Cup. He has also helped his team win medals in Commonwealth Games and Olympics. Winning the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games was her proudest achievement.